Bombers sign another Wanganeen in AFL
The day before his dad officially becomes an Essendon legend, Tex Wanganeen has also signed with the Bombers.
The 18-year-old son of Essendon and Port Adelaide great Gavin Wanganeen joined fellow newcomer Nick Martin in producing eye-catching performances during Wednesday's opening AFL practice match win over the Western Bulldogs.
Immediately after the six-point win at Essendon's Tullamarine headquarters, Wanganeen and Martin were added to the playing list as rookies through the pre-season supplemental selection period.
Wanganeen has been in the club's James Hird Academy junior development program, while Martin joined the Bombers in the off-season from WA club Subiaco. Gavin Wanganeen won the 1993 Brownlow Medal and a few days later was a key member of Essendon's premiership team that season.
He played 127 games for the Bombers before joining Port Adelaide in 1997 as their inaugural AFL captain. The five-time All Australian will be elevated to legend status at Essendon's Hall Of Fame function on Thursday night.
Essendon assistant coach Daniel Giansiracusa said the decision to sign the duo was not made until after the game, where Wanganeen kicked two goals, including a brilliant effort on the run in the last term.
"It happened pretty quickly after the game, but they showed a bit in the second half," he said.
"They've been working really well over the pre-season.
"We wanted to get a look at them again ... (against) the team who was in the grand final last year, just to see how they ply their trade and they did really well."
The signings of Wanganeen, in particular, and Martin added to the buoyant mood at Essendon after the 12.9 (81) to 11.9 (75) win.
While the stakes were far lower than the last time the sides played - the Bulldogs clobbered Essendon in their elimination final - it was exactly the sort of pre-season performance the Bombers wanted.
Second-year players Archie Perkins and Nik Cox also impressed, while Jordan Ridley and Andrew McGrath starred for Essendon and Will Snelling kicked three goals.
"We got shown up (in the second half) by a team that's physically really strong and they've been going about their business for a while now," Giansiracusa said of the 49-point belting from the Bulldogs last August.
"So it was good to match up against them again.
"The best thing is, we get a hitout against a really quality opponent and hopefully that sets us up really well for the first part of the season.
The hot conditions were far removed from the freezing conditions at Launceston for last year's final, when the Bulldogs extended Essendon's finals drought that dates back to 2004.
The Bulldogs went on to suffer their own heavy grand-final loss to Melbourne. The Bulldogs rested players such as captain Marcus Bontempelli and Caleb Daniel for the second half as they also made a solid start to the pre-season.
Jason Johannisen kicked three goals, Aaron Naughton marked strongly and kicked two, while onballer Jack McRae was prolific and draftee Arthur Jones had an encouraging hitout.
But 2020 No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was quiet as his AFL development continues.